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What A Load Of Merde

| Learning | June 23, 2015

(My high school French teacher is very proper, but is also competitive. She asks me to join our school’s team for the local French competition, but I decline because she insists that all students stay late from school every day and come to her house on weekends for six weeks before the competition to prepare.)

Teacher: “It would be really good for your college applications to have this extracurricular activity, you know.”

Me: “Thanks, but I’ve started a few clubs, I’m on the literary magazine staff, and I’m class Treasurer, so I think I’m ok on that front. I just can’t make the commitment.”

Teacher: “Well, what is your grade in French right now?”

Me: “Right now I have an A-.”

Teacher: “It would be too bad if your grade dropped. Participating in the competition would help with that, you know.”

Me: “…” *in shock and wondering if I really just heard her threaten my grade*

Teacher: “At least promise me you’ll consider it.”

Me: “I’ll think about, but I really don’t have the time. I don’t think I can do it.”

(Two days later:)

Teacher: “So, I signed you up for the competition! You’ll be doing Prose Reading and Prose Memorization. Here is your piece for the memorization so you can start learning it.”

Me: “What? I told you I couldn’t do it!”

Teacher: “You promised to consider it, so I signed you up. You can’t quit now, we’ll have to forfeit those categories!”

Me: “But I can’t do it! I told you I didn’t have time! I just agreed to think about it to be polite!”

(The next day in homeroom, I’m working on something for another class when a senior I don’t know we’ll comes in and finds me:)

Senior: “You know, Madame is canceling our whole team’s entry into the competition. She said if you won’t compete, none of us can go. She asked me to come convince you to join us.”

Me: “What? But I never wanted to do it! How can she cancel the whole thing over this?”

Senior: “Well, she did, and now our whole team is screwed. I may not get into college because of this! You can’t do this to me! You have to do the competition!”

(She continued to berate me until I was in tears over the situation. I didn’t want to ruin this for everyone, but I was really angry over my teacher’s tactics. After homeroom, I went straight to the principal and told him the whole story, including the threat to my grade. My teacher was called in and insisted that it was a misunderstanding, that she would never threaten my grade, jeopardize the whole team’s participation, or send an upperclassman to bully me. Since it was just my word against hers, she wasn’t reprimanded, but I was officially excused from competing! I switched to German the next year.)

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